Kramer: McCarthy now hostage to GOP extremists

Most hostage crises are perilous international extortionist plots to secure the release of foreign terrorists  held in this country by holding American citizens against their will. The suffering of the detained Americans usually attracts extensive media coverage.

Ironically, the latest hostage crisis is not an international incident but domestic. It is also happening with considerable media attention within the House of Representatives in Washington.

The crisis began well before the recent 15-round split decision which approved Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. To obtain the requisite support, McCarthy agreed to change House rules and appoint several extremist colleague supporters to prominent committee assignments. By virtue of their support, Kevin McCarthy became their “Charlie McCarthy” as they have made him their puppet. They demanded and received committee assignments that will give them a bully pulpit to continue to spew venom into the legislative process.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert were appointed to the House Oversight Committee. They vow to investigate the investigations of past investigators.  As for the House Judiciary Committee, one can only hope that opposites will attract when Chairman Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz screen potential jurists.  Further, George Santos, who was rewarded for supporting McCarthy, will continue to resemble a panelist in “What’s My Line” and will take a seat on the Homeland Security Committee.

Speaker McCarthy will also remain beholden to supporters from the Donald Trump MAGA constituency as they still have a stranglehold on a significant percentage of the Republican party.

McCarthy will remain beholden to these folks who seek to remake the Bill of Rights. He will remain their hostage and puppet rather than emerge as a leader seeking to restore bipartisan government and principles to the country.

This hostage crisis will probably last until at least  the election in 2024.

Steve Kramer is an attorney and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts from 1980 to 1987.